Plant Growth

How to Make Podocarpus Grow Thicker: A Step-by-Step Guide!

As an expert gardener, I would like to share my experience in caring for plants and give some valuable tips on how to make Podocarpus grow thicker.

To grow podocarpus thicker ensure your Podocarpus receives ample sunlight, as it thrives in full or partial sun exposure. Additionally, provide consistent and proper watering, avoiding overwatering or underwatering. Enhance soil quality by adding organic matter, like compost, to promote nutrient availability. Regularly fertilize with a balanced slow-release fertilizer during the growing season. Prune strategically to remove dead or weak branches and improve airflow.

This article will discuss different factors that can benefit the growth of this plant. Let’s start!

Benefits of Thicker Growth on Podocarpus:Description
1. Enhances Aesthetic AppealThicker and lusher Podocarpus plants add beauty and visual interest to gardens and landscapes.
2. Provides Privacy and ScreeningDense foliage of thick Podocarpus can create natural barriers, offering privacy and screening.
3. Offers Shade and ShelterA thick canopy of Podocarpus provides shade to other plants, outdoor living areas, and wildlife habitats.
4. Reduces Noise and Air PollutionThick Podocarpus growth acts as a natural sound barrier, absorbing noise and trapping air pollutants.
5. Promotes Healthier EcosystemThicker Podocarpus growth contributes to a balanced ecosystem by providing habitat and food for wildlife.

How to Make Podocarpus Grow Thicker

1.Provide Adequate Sunlight

Podocarpus is a plant that requires ideal conditions of light incidence to develop healthily. Adequate exposure to light is essential for photosynthesis, the process by which plants produce energy and develop their leaves.

In this section, we will discuss the sunlight requirements for Podocarpus in detail and provide recommendations on how to choose the ideal place based on sun exposure.

Intensity and duration of sunlight

For Podocarpus to grow properly, it is essential to consider both the intensity and duration of sunlight that the plant will receive. This plant benefits from intense direct or indirect sunlight, although it is vital to avoid exposure to very intense sunlight, this is especially crucial during the hottest months of the year.

Choosing the location based on sun exposure

When selecting the location for your Podocarpus, take into account the amount of sun exposure the area receives throughout the day.

Observe the movement of the sun and assess whether the location receives direct or indirect sunlight and at what time of day. In general, Podocarpus grows well in areas that receive about 4 to 6 hours of light a day.

Avoid excessively shaded areas, as the lack of sunlight can negatively affect the growth and development of the plant.

Orientation and shading

Site orientation also plays an important role in Podocarpus sun exposure. To optimize exposure to sunlight, choose a location that faces south or southwest.

These directions are ideal for receiving an adequate amount of sunlight throughout the day. Look for obstructions such as buildings, trees, or structures that could cause excessive shading during peak sunlight hours. Avoid these areas to ensure the Podocarpus gets the necessary amount of sunlight.

Watch out for signs of a lack of or excess sunlight

During the daily care of your Podocarpus, be aware of signs of lack or excess of sunlight. If the leaves show a pale color or turn yellow, it could be a sign of a lack of sunlight.

In that case, adjust the position of the plant to ensure adequate light exposure. On the other hand, if the leaves are burned, with dark spots, or with dry edges, it could be a sign of excessive exposure to sunlight. Protect the plant from bright sunlight or provide partial shade to prevent damage.

2.Use proper soil and drainage

Soil type and proper drainage play a crucial role in Podocarpus growing thick.

Importance of soil drainage

Proper soil drainage is essential for Podocarpus, as it prevents excessive accumulation of water around the roots. Soil waterlogging can lead to root rot and the development of diseases that can harm the plant’s health.

In addition, poorly drained soil can affect the absorption of nutrients by the roots, compromising the growth and thickness of the Podocarpus.

Suitable soil types

Podocarpus thrives in light, well-draining soil rich in organic matter. The ideal soils for this plant are sandy clayey soils, as they drain well, retain essential nutrients, and provide a strong, stable base for root growth.

However, Podocarpus is a hardy plant and can tolerate other types of soil, as long as drainage is improved to prevent water accumulation.

Techniques to improve drainage

If the soil in your garden does not drain well, there are some techniques to improve it and create an environment conducive to thick Podocarpus growth. Here are some techniques you can use:

  • Adding Organic Matter: Incorporating organic matter, such as cured manure or wormcast, into the soil can improve soil structure, increase water holding capacity, and promote proper drainage.
  • Creating raised beds: If your garden soil tends to be very wet, creating raised beds or raised beds to plant podocarpus can be an effective solution. This helps improve drainage, raising the planting area and preventing water from accumulating on the Podocarpus roots.
  • Installation of drainage systems: In extreme cases of soil with poor drainage, it may be necessary to install drainage systems such as perforated pipes or drainage ditches. These systems help direct excess water away from the Podocarpus roots.
  • Use of gravel or sand: Adding a layer of gravel or sand to the bottom of the planting bed or in problem areas of the soil (where water pools) can improve drainage, making it easier to drain excess water.

3.Maintain Humidity Levels

Maintaining proper humidity levels is critical to promoting bushy Podocarpus growth. In this section, we’ll provide guidelines for watering Podocarpus, discuss the importance of regular watering, and explain how to avoid overwatering conditions.

Tips and guidelines for watering Podocarpus

To ensure healthy and thick growth, we must offer the correct amount of water when watering our Podocarpus. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Regular watering: Podocarpus requires special attention to be watered. The soil should always be moist but not soggy. Watering frequency will vary depending on climate and soil conditions, but it is generally recommended to water the plant once or twice a week during drier periods.
  • Depth of irrigation: When watering the Podocarpus, offer plenty of water. Make sure the water reaches the deepest layers of soil, where the roots are located. This encourages moisture-seeking roots to grow, promoting a healthy root system.
  • Soil moisture check: Before watering, it is ideal to check the soil moisture. This can be accomplished by feeling the soil below the surface or using a suitable instrument, such as a soil moisture meter. If the soil is dry to a depth of 2–3 centimeters, this is a sign that it’s time to water.
  • Importance of Regular Watering: Regular watering is crucial for the bushy growth of Podocarpus. It provides much-needed moisture to the roots and helps the plant absorb nutrients from the soil. Regular watering keeps the plant hydrated and prevents it from experiencing water stress, which could lead to damage and affect bushy growth.
  • Avoiding overwatering conditions: While it is important to keep the soil moist, it is equally important to prevent water from accumulating around the Podocarpus roots. Excess water can lead to root rot and disease development. Make sure the soil has good drainage and avoid waterlogging. If you notice that the soil is constantly wet or soggy, reduce the frequency of watering or improve drainage.

4.Temperature preferences

For Podocarpus to grow healthily, it is necessary to understand its temperature preferences, as this is a plant that generally prefers temperate to subtropical climates. The temperature requirement of the plant varies with species and variety, but in general, it is tolerant to a wide range of temperatures.

Most Podocarpus species are resistant to light to moderate frost. However, during severe winters or in regions with very low temperatures, it may be necessary to take measures to protect the plant.

We must know the Podocarpus hardiness zones (zones 8 through 11) before choosing the place where the planting will be done. Consult the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zone map to determine if your region is within the ideal temperature range for Podocarpus. This information helps ensure the plant grows and thickens properly in your local climate.

During extreme weather conditions such as heat waves or severe colds, protecting Podocarpus is essential.

Here are some considerations to make to protect the plant:

  • Covering during frosts: During severe frosts, it is advisable to cover the Podocarpus with a fabric suitable for this purpose, or else a light fabric, such as a sheet. These tissues act as a physical barrier, protecting the plant from intense cold. Remember to remove the covering in the morning to allow the plant to receive adequate sunlight.
  • Shading during heat waves: During periods of intense heat, shade should be provided for Podocarpus, especially during the hottest hours of the day. This can be done using shading fabrics or by placing the plant in a partially shaded area.
  • Protection against strong winds: In regions with strong winds, it is advisable to protect the Podocarpus by placing physical barriers that can reduce the intensity of the winds. This will help prevent physical damage to the plant and reduce moisture loss.

5.Use Proper pruning techniques

Pruning is an essential technique to promote thick, healthy Podocarpus growth. When done correctly, it encourages the development of new shoots, increases branching, and improves the overall structure of the plant, making the Podocarpus thicker.

The best time to prune Podocarpus is usually in late winter or early spring. During this period, the plant is at rest, and pruning will not interfere with the active growth process. Avoid pruning in the fall, as this can encourage late growth, making the plant more vulnerable to cold damage.

When pruning Podocarpus, you can use the following techniques:

  1. Removing Dead, Damaged, or Congested Branches: Start by carefully removing dead, diseased, damaged, etc. branches. These branches do not contribute to healthy growth, as well as preventing light penetration, and can become an entry point for diseases and pests.
  2. Rejuvenation Pruning: To encourage thicker growth, consider rejuvenating pruning. This involves removing older or longer branches by cutting them close to the trunk. This technique encourages the emergence of new shoots, bringing a fuller architecture to the plant.
  3. Thinning: If the Podocarpus is very dense, with many overlapping branches, consider thinning. Carefully remove some inner branches (especially those that “point inwards”), making room for air circulation and allowing sunlight to reach the inner parts of the plant.
  4. Remember to avoid excessive pruning, as this can weaken the plant and stunt its growth. Podocarpus is naturally slow-growing, and excessive pruning can further delay its development.
  5. When pruning Podocarpus, use clean, sharp pruning tools to get accurate cuts and avoid unnecessary damage. Always observe the shape and structure of the plant when pruning, keeping a balance between removing unwanted branches and preserving the natural shape of the plant.

By applying proper pruning techniques, you will promote thicker, healthier Podocarpus growth, resulting in a vigorous and aesthetically pleasing plant.

6.Water Properly

Proper watering is essential for the healthy growth and development of Podocarpus, which need a regular supply of water to thrive. It is essential to find the right balance, avoiding both too much and too little water.

Determining the proper watering frequency for Podocarpus requires an understanding of the plant’s specific needs and environmental conditions.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Check Soil Moisture: Before watering, check the moisture by inserting your finger about 1 inch into the soil. If it’s damp, wait a little longer before watering. If it’s dry, it’s time to water.
  • Water deeply: Water until the water seeps deep into the soil, but avoid soaking or leaving puddles around the plant.
  • Avoid Overwatering: This can lead to root rot and drainage problems. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings, ensuring the plant has a chance to breathe and preventing excessive moisture buildup.
  • Consider weather conditions: Watering frequency can also vary according to weather conditions. During periods of intense heat or dry weather, more frequent watering may be required. In contrast, during periods of rain, reduce watering to avoid excess moisture.

Remember, it’s better to water slightly on the under-watering side than the over-watering side. Podocarpus is more tolerant of lack of water than excess. Watch for signs that the plant needs water, such as wilting leaves, before watering again.

7.Fertilize Regularly

Fertilization is essential to providing the necessary nutrients for the healthy growth of Podocarpus. These nutrients are essential for the development of leaves, shoots, and roots and directly affect plant thickness and vitality.

Before fertilizing Podocarpus, it is recommended to carry out a soil analysis to determine specific nutritional deficiencies. Through this analysis, you will be able to identify which nutrients are lacking and adjust the fertilizer accordingly.

There are several types of fertilizers available on the market, the most common being slow-release granular fertilizers, which provide nutrients gradually over time. There are also liquid fertilizers, which can be diluted in water and applied directly to the soil.

When choosing a fertilizer for Podocarpus, carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct dosage and application. Excessive fertilization can be harmful to Podocarpus.

As for the ideal time to apply the fertilizer, it is generally recommended to fertilize the Podocarpus in spring, when the plant is in full growth. Avoid fertilizing during the winter dormancy period.

8.Start Mulching

Mulching plays an important role in the care and healthy growth of Podocarpus. Mulching consists of placing a layer of organic or inorganic material on top of the soil around the base of the plant.

Mulching has several benefits for Podocarpus. First, it acts as a thermal insulator, helping to keep the soil temperature more stable, which is especially beneficial in regions with intense climate variations. In addition, it helps conserve soil moisture, reducing evaporation and the need for watering.

Another advantage is that it gradually decomposes, providing some nutrients to the soil and enriching the substrate. Another benefit of mulching is that it helps suppress weed growth, reducing competition for nutrients and water.

To mulch around the base of Podocarpus, follow these guidelines:

  1. Remove any existing weeds or debris around the plant;
  2. Ensure the soil is damp before applying the mulch;
  3. Choose a suitable organic material, such as tree bark, dry leaves, straw, or sawdust. Avoid using stone or plastic mulch, as they do not provide the same nutritional and moisture-retaining benefits;
  4. Spread a layer about 2 to 4 inches thick around the base of the plant, not covering the collar of the plant;
  5. Leave a space of a few centimeters between the cover and the trunk of the Podocarpus to avoid the accumulation of moisture;
  6. Maintain the mulch regularly, adding more material as it decomposes.

Remember that mulching is a beneficial practice, but it is important not to overdo the amount applied. A very thick layer can retain excess moisture, favoring the appearance of fungal diseases. Therefore, regularly monitor soil moisture and adjust the amount of top dressing as needed.

Why podocarpus does not grow thicker?

Reasons why Podocarpus may not grow thickerDescription
Insufficient sunlightPodocarpus requires full or partial sunlight to thrive and grow thicker. Inadequate sunlight can result in weak growth and sparse foliage.
Improper wateringOverwatering or underwatering can hinder the growth of Podocarpus, preventing it from growing thicker. Maintaining proper soil moisture levels is crucial.
Nutrient deficiencyA lack of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium, can stunt the growth of Podocarpus, leading to thinner foliage and weaker branches.
Soil conditionsPoor soil quality, such as compacted soil or soil lacking in organic matter, can restrict root development and nutrient uptake, impeding the growth and thickness of Podocarpus.
Pruning practicesImproper or excessive pruning can hinder the growth of Podocarpus, preventing it from becoming thicker. Inappropriate timing or techniques may result in weak regrowth.
Pest or disease infestationInsect pests, fungal diseases, or other pathogens can weaken Podocarpus and inhibit its growth, leading to thinner foliage and overall poor health.
Environmental stressExtreme weather conditions, such as excessive heat, cold, or drought, can stress Podocarpus and impede its growth. This can result in thinner foliage and stunted growth.
Genetic factorsSome Podocarpus varieties naturally have a more open or sparse growth habit, leading to thinner foliage. It’s important to choose the right variety for desired thickness.
Transplant shockIf the Podocarpus plant was recently transplanted, it may experience transplant shock, leading to temporary growth setbacks. It needs time to adjust to its new location and fill in properly.

How to accelerate the growth of the podocarpus?

The podocarp is a slow-growing plant that takes two years to grow to its ideal height. But if you want it to grow into a living fence, it’s best to regularly prune it to encourage growth.

Use a fertilizer with a high nitrogen ratio (NPK 12:6:6) in early spring to promote plant growth . In summer, a more balanced fertilizer (NPK 10:10:10). During the fall, use fertilizers that will halt the plant’s growth processes and prepare it for winter (NPK 3:10:10).


In conclusion, achieving thicker growth in Podocarpus plants requires a combination of essential factors. Providing adequate sunlight, proper watering, and ensuring the soil quality are key elements to consider. Regular pruning and fertilization are crucial for stimulating new growth and providing essential nutrients.

Additionally, mulching and proper spacing contribute to maintaining optimal conditions for the plant’s overall health. By following these guidelines and being patient, you can create an environment that promotes thick, lush foliage in your Podocarpus plant. Remember to monitor your plant’s progress and make adjustments as needed to ensure its long-term vitality and beauty.

Andreea Tapu

Andreea TAPU is a passionate gardener with over 5 years of experience in cultivating a wide variety of plants and flowers in her garden. As the author and creator of, she is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and expertise with others, providing practical tips and advice to help gardeners of all levels achieve success and enjoyment in their gardening pursuits.